Jackrabbits go dancing

For the second time in program history the SDSU women’s soccer team is going to the NCAA Tournament.

Their opponent will be the University of North Carolina which enters the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed.

“I think the team is just excited in general, and especially playing UNC is kind of a big deal,” said sophomore defender Ashley Adams. “Obviously it would have been better if we played a lower ranked team but it’s just a great experience for the team.”

Coaches, student athletes,  administration, media and fans gathered at Cubby’s on  Nov. 18 to learn SDSU’s fate from the Selection Show at 3:30 p.m. CST.

The Jackrabbits’ previous trip to the NCAA Tournament came in 2008 when they upset the University of Colorado Buffalo in the opening round.

With an automatic bid, thanks to their comeback win against Denver to take the Summit League Tournament, SDSU knew they were in the field. Nevertheless, they still had to wait while nearly three-quarters of the bracket filled in, ruling out teams and destinations.

Some rumors had the Jacks headed for a rematch against the University of Wisconsin, but that matchup passed by without SDSU’s name being called.

Junior defender Katie McNeary said it was a relief to find out they were not going back to Wisconsin and instead to somewhere warmer.

SDSU was finally introduced and promised warmer weather at their destination. That warmer weather will be found in Chapel Hill, N.C. as the Jacks are scheduled to face off against the Tar Heels on Friday Nov. 14  at 5 p.m. EST.

“I’m very excited,” McNeary said. “It’s going to be a good experience and it’s cool that we’re going to North Carolina, knowing the background of the team. Mia Hamm used to play for them so it’s interesting. We’re going to have to prepare well for this one.”

UNC’s 21 national championships stand alone atop all other women’s soccer programs, their last championship coming in 2012.

“I’m excited to compete against a high level team and to show that South Dakota State can play in the NCAA tournament and we’ll compete as much as we can with them and show them what we got,” said sophomore midfielder Madison Yueill. “We have a lot of heart and it was shown in all the games leading up to the tournament and I think we can do it again.”

The Tar Heels finished the season 12-3-2 and went 9-0-1 in the ACC on their way to the regular season conference title. They boast two first-team All-ACC defenders and have three other players who made the second and third All-ACC teams.

“As a whole we have nothing to lose so we can go in with a mentality that we’ve got nothing to lose and just play with our hearts and play as a team and that’s what really matters,” said sophomore goalkeeper, Nicole Inskeep.